Barcelona and Lionel Messi have confirmed their first-team squad have accepted a wage cut of over 70% due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The statements confirm that the players accepting the cut will allow the club’s non-sporting staff – on significantly lower salaries – not to have any salary reduction enforced upon them.
The first statement came from Argentine star Messi on Monday morning on his Instagram account, claiming that the players would always act with the best interests of the club at heart – and took a thinly-veiled aim at sources within the club who had suggested this would not be the case.
“It is time to confirm that, as well as the 70% reduction in our salaries during the state of emergency, we are going to make contributions too so that club employees can receive 100% of their salaries while this situation lasts,” the statement read.
“Our wish has always been to take a pay reduction, because we understand perfectly that this is an exceptional situation. That is why it has surprised us that within the club people have tried to put us under scrutiny and put pressure on us to do something we were always going to carry out.
“This has only taken time as we tried to find a formula to help the club and also its workers in this difficult time. We only want to find the solutions for the club.”
Twenty minutes later, the club released their own statement to confirm the pay reduction had been agreed and would be actioned immediately.
“In relation to the first team, the reduction will be more than the 70% initially proposed by the club,” the statement read.
“That additional contribution from the squad…allows us to guarantee the full salaries of all non-sporting staff.”
Last week, a report in Cadena Cope reveals how the club are set to trigger an ERTE – meaning that all of its players will lose the majority of their income due to exceptional circumstances under Spain’s current state of emergency.
The club’s captains were said to have been in discussions with the board of directors over the decision they have not found an agreement, and the club are now willing to push on despite the lack of consensus.
An ERTE is Spain’s temporary redundancy scheme which is activated by the state of emergency within the country, with businesses losing access to their profits.
The wage cut will be applicable to all senior teams at the club, including the women’s football team and the men’s basketball side.
However, the report underlines how the focus is on the men’s senior football team whose combined wage bill is over €500m and is said to be the highest of any professional sports club in the world.
The coronavirus outbreak has brought sport across the world to a halt with Spanish football suspended indefinitely – meaning that all clubs have no income from matchdays or, for the elite clubs, their museums.
Spain is now behind only Italy on the global scale for the most deaths due to the virus, with the nation now 15 days into a 30-day state of lockdown.